Five Internet Security
New Year Resolutions
You CAN Keep
1. Password Password Password! Change your passwords, make them secure. One suggestion: One capital letter, one symbol, one lower case letter, one number, then repeat the last two of these characters three times, example: A$b1b1b1b1. An extremely secure password! Just FOUR characters to remember! Use the same 4 characters for many passwords.
But if you could, a simple further idea: For your different sites, change just the first letter, for ex-ample, to be the same as the first letter of the target website name, for Facebook perhaps: . F$b1b1b1b1.
2. Make sure devices used by young children are very secure. Know everything they do online.
3. Pay Attention to your tax refund. Criminals can apply for and receive your refund. They can even phony up numbers and file a phony tax return for you, to get an amazing fictitiously large return applied for in your name.
4. Change the password on your Yahoo account if you have one. Info: bit.ly/2jWqp4F
5. Watch for phony credit card charges.
Thank You for these to LifeLock!
Pew Research Findings
Since The Election
Following the election, these are the public’s top five priorities:
5. Health Care Costs
For three of every four Americans, the top priorities are terrorism and the economy.
Environment was only 11th most important, immigration was 15th, and climate change was 18th.
Most Americans (64%) have experienced an important leak of their personal important information.
Most Americans (51%) do not trust their social media sites to protect their data. Almost a majority (49%) does not trust the federal government to protect their data.
The large majority (86%) use only memorized passwords.
Many (39%) use a single same password for many of their online accounts.
On the positive side, most (52%) use two-step authentication for at least some of their accounts.
More Bees Being Killed
By Wing-Deforming Virus
Scientists calculate that 1.4 billion jobs and 75% of crops depend on pollinators, mainly bees.
The UN estimates that 40% of pollinators, bees and butterflies, are at risk of extinction.
A mysterious blight, as yet not understood, “colony collapse disorder,” has killed up to 90% of bees in some areas of North America and Europe.
Now a new virus, “wing-deforming” virus, has been found attacking the little workers, pre-venting them from surviving to foraging age, causing them to not remember where they’ve been, and reducing the lifespan of those who do forage.
If you or a neighbor is scared by bees swarming near you, don’t spray it with pesticide to kill it! Report it to a local beekeeper who will come and remove it, saving the bees and putting them to beneficial use. Or report it to your county agricultural extension agent.
Help Your Eyes!
“Computer Vision Syndrome” affects half to almost all of people who spend much time looking at computer screens.
And about two-thirds of adults spend most of their eight-hour days doing just that.
Computer screens add increased contrast, flicker, glare and combinations of colors, especially blue, which damage our eyes.
“Prevent Blindness” is the oldest U.S. organization working to help people and employers reduce dam-age to our eyes. They recommend these practices:
Visit an eye doctor for a dilated exam, to make sure you are seeing clearly, whether you need glasses or your glasses prescription changed.
Place computer screen 20 to 26 inches from your eyes and a little below eye level; down on a desk or table is often too low.
Use an adjustable chair, and ad-just your chair so that:
a) your legs are supported from the floor, not hanging from the edge of the chair.
b) your keyboard and mouse are at elbow height.
Really look at your screen- do you see reflections of ceiling lights or windows; re-arrange your setup to prevent these. Screens can be treated to reduce reflection. Reflections can reduce the image reaching your eyes by more than half, dou-bling eye strain.
Laptops are good for portable use, or for touch-and-go users who have many duties off the computer. But they are not good for full time long-constant-hours desk use. The displays are too low. Often the keyboards are too far forward and the trackpads are too small, especially for graphic work. A mouse is much better, easily attached to a laptop, and unattached when the laptop goes traveling.
Use the 20-20-20 rule: Break every 20 minutes for 20 seconds to look at objects 20 feet or more away.
Trouble with Hubble
In astronomy, objects of the same power but at different distances reach us with different brightness. Farther-away objects are dimmer, no surprise.
Back in the early 1900’s, a group of women examining hundreds of thousands of glass photographic plate photographs of the sky at Harvard found a way to determine a ratio giving how much dimmer an object of the same power would be because of its greater distance. This ratio is called the Hubble Constant. Their discovery remains one of the greatest accomplishments in all of astronomy. Prior to this, distances to astronomical objects were completely unknown; everything out there was assumed to be part of, in the same space as our Milky Way Galaxy.
Since then, the Hubble Constant has been extremely important in determining the distance of objects away from us, the apparent size of the universe, how fast it is expanding and the huge amount of additional but unseen mass, “Dark Mat-ter,” that must exist to cause that rate of expansion.
The Hubble Constant was found to be… constant… over all bright-nesses and distances—– almost!
Measurements have always var-ied by small amounts, but these variances were thought to be just errors in the very difficult measurements. The measurements cen-tered on a value: H0 = 66.93±0.62 km/s/Mpc. The units are kilometers per second per mega-parsec.
(A parsec (symbol: pc) is a unit of length used to measure large distances to objects outside our Solar System. One parsec is the distance at which one astronomical unit (distance from Earth to Sun) subtends an angle of one arc second. A parsec is equal to about 3.26 light-years (31 trillion kilome-tres or 19 trillion miles) in length. The nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is about 1.3 parsecs (4.2 light-years) from the Sun. Most of the stars visible to the unaided eye in the nighttime sky are within 500 parsecs of the Sun. A mega-parsec or Mpc is a million parsecs.)
The different measurements al-ways fell within a variation of 3.8%. The 3.8% was said to be the “uncertainty” in the number; presumably we just hadn’t found ways yet to measure it more precisely.
Now in an international project called, peculiarly, HOLiCOW (an abbreviation), six telescopes: the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Subaru Telescope, the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, the Gemini Ob-servatory, and the W. M. Keck Observatory have been combined to image several gravitationally-lensed quasars in pursuit of measuring the Hubble constant.
A quasar is a compact region (appearing as a point from long distance) surrounding a supermas-sive black hole. The region is extremely bright, emitting enormous amounts of electromagnetic energy as a result of mass from the core of a surrounding galaxy, under the influence of the black hole’s gravi-ty, falling onto the black hole’s accretion disk. They are looking at extremely bright objects that are very far away.
Gravitational lensing occurs when a bright object is exactly behind a nearer massive object- light from the distant object is bent around the nearer object like a lens or prism bends light. The bending can cause the distant bright object to appear as several images around the nearer object.
The Five Gravitational Lenses used by HOLiCOW. In the center of each is the near object, the nearer galaxy, typically 2 Mpc distant from us. The bright spots around it are the multiple gravitationally-lensed images of the more distant galaxy. Light arriving here along these different paths arrive at times separated by as much as 20 days, with some delayed more by more massive galaxies near their paths along their way.
Image by the National Astronomical Ob-servatory of Japan, the leader of the HOLiCOW Project.
Comparing the various images of the distant object and the amount by which the various light beams are bent and more especially slowed by the nearer mass, allows various measurements to be made about the two objects and the effect on the light.
HOLiCOW’s purpose is to more accurately measure the Hubble Constant.
The universe- shaking HOLiCOW results have just been released on Jan. 26, 2017.
Two of the extremely accurate measurements obtained, HOLiCOW’s of 71.9 km/s/Mpc, and another called HST of 73.24 km/s/Mpc, fall outside the uncertainly of 3.8% from the long-held value of 66.93±0.62 km/s/Mpc.
That these numbers fall outside the uncertainty in the previous, long-held and relied-upon number for the Hubble Constant is extremely serious. It challenges basic phys-ics including even Einstein’s theo-ries, and requires that fundamental physics must be revised in ways that are not now even imagined.